A "measured" loosening of restrictions in the ACT will be announced on Friday, Chief Minister Andrew Barr says.
Mr Barr said Canberrans could not continue to live their lives in lockdown.
But the easing of restrictions will be gradual, with further significant changes not expected for weeks.
Medical groups say the time is right to slowly wind down some measures in the ACT.
It is expected the national cabinet will on Friday discuss loosening some social distancing guidelines.
Mr Barr said he would announce what changes would be implemented in the ACT after the meeting.
He previously indicated the next phase of easing restrictions could involve increasing the number of people allowed to gather.
"The important point to stress here is that this process will be gradual," he said.
"It will take many months, and it will involve detailed evaluation and testing of each phase of restrictions.
"So people can expect some relaxation of measures to be announced tomorrow, but then not being further significant changes for a number of weeks, whilst we test and evaluate."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday said the state should not expect a loosening of restrictions in time for Mother's Day.
But Mr Barr said the ACT would not necessarily follow NSW's approach.
"But we're in this for the long haul. The pandemic is not over," he said.
"We do need to learn to live with the virus as part of our lives."
Mr Barr's comments came as the government on Thursday announced ACT public school students will start moving back to the classroom from May 18 as part of a staggered return to face-to-face learning.
The government will also expand the Legislative Assembly's sitting schedule to sit once every two weeks.
Sittings will increase to once a week in the lead-up to the October election.
Mr Barr said a return to life as it was before the pandemic may not occur for years.
"We have to have that in the back of our mind as we begin this gradual, measured, sensible evidence based journey," he said.
Australian Medical Association ACT president Antonio Di Dio said it was the right time to carefully ease restrictions, including ramping up the number of people allowed to gather to about 10.
"We are now in a position to do so," he said.
He said easing of restrictions should be cautious and gradual.
"There's no point having achieved so much with a concerted community effort where everyone has worked so hard ... it would be such a shame to waste it all," Dr Di Dio said.
He said easing of restrictions was important as fatigue set in and people were more likely to flout rules.
The association supported the government's move to reopen schools, saying it was an inevitable and necessary step.
Opposition Leader Alistair Coe said restrictions should begin to be lifted in the ACT.
"Given we have relatively few cases and of course at the moment very very few detected cases," he said.
"The ACT is in a good position relative to many other parts of Australia and the world.
"There is a case to start lifting these restrictions. It's got to be done in a strategic way, in a managed way."
It came as the government passed its second COVID-19 emergency bill, with the support of the opposition and The Greens.
Among the changes passed were waiving of payroll tax on JobKeeper payments.
The legislation would also allow Canberra prisoners to be given coronavirus "leave permits" should a risk of an outbreak at the Alexander Maconochie Centre arise.